Monday, March 24, 2014

How The 2014 American Red Cross Show House can inspire decorating your own home.

I recently wrote about this amazing American Red Cross Designer Show House but I focused on the spectacular dining room.  Now it is time to continue the tour.  There was so much to see and so much to remember.  Breaking it down to room by room is a great way to focus on just what the designer did and how that might inspire your own decorating.

The elegant living room was designed by Jennifer Garrigues and Diane El-Daher.
The "bones" of this room included a dramatic two story ceiling,  tromp l'oeil wall treatment done for the show house 20 years ago,  original stone floors and a magnificent fireplace. Oh and did I mention French doors? Starting with such phenomenal features is a plus but the trick is to complement and enhance those features and it was done beautifully.

One of the first things I noticed was the pair of over scaled lamps behind the sofa and the way the table runner was draped at an angle across the table.

 Another surprise was the raspberry tiger pillows.
I believe when you add something unexpected a room comes alive.  The lamps got my attention right away but did not overwhelm the smaller proportioned sofa. Because the ceiling and fireplace were so high the room demanded some tall elements.  Perhaps the boldness of the pillows helped to balance the lamps as well.

Jennifer and Diana anchored the room with an armoire at the far end.
Balance is a key element in interior design.  I love seeing how other designers work with those elements.
Not only is the armoire tall but it is RASPBERRY!  If it were a light wood or a pale color would  it balance the room as well? Probably not.

 So here is a "trick of the trade" so to speak.  When you want a cabinet to stand out paint the inside and open the doors!  It reminds me of how a peacock fans it's tail to show off.  A large armoire becomes even bigger. With doors wide open there is opportunity to display treasures and even add a small lamp for additional charm.

Citron colored fabric on a pair of chairs pull that color right from the rug.
In case you wondered where the color scheme for the room came from, just look at the rug.  Shades and tints of those colors are a great way to tie it all together but without matching.

 Smaller scale armless chairs help keep the space from being over crowded.
Because the ceilings are so tall, the room seems to be large but in truth the floor space is long and narrow.  It is tricky to design. In addition to the high ceiling there was a double staircase leading to each of the upstairs wings.  As you looked down you got a birds eye view of the living room.

A large cocktail table holds what looks like family treasures brought back from their travels.
A cocktail table can be a challenge to accessorize.  Once again height in this room is important, so the designers used a group of tall tapers but they are supported by a beautiful tray.  For mid-height and color they added  fresh flowers and elevated a candle on a stack of books.  A small red box sits next to the flowers as the lower level object d'art.   It is usually most effective to arrange accessories in odd numbers and in varying heights.

The desk behind the sofa is full of accessories.  
For some this may be a bit busy.  Perhaps if the table cloth were not so colorful it would look less cluttered. Though it is gorgeous, I find it hard to appreciate.....So, as in film making, editing is also an important part of design.  Working with different clients I find everyone's tastes vary.  Some like it almost Zen-like and others go all out.  I think often you can tell a lot from the way a home is accessorized.  In this case I would guess that this "family" had acquired many items from traveling the world and loved to see them displayed in their home.

One design tip is to accessorize like everything was acquired over a long period of time rather than all being purchased at local showrooms when you are finishing your project.  Of course this room was designed over a short time period but it definitely has an "acquired" feel.  Shopping at local consignment, thrift or antiques shoppes is a good way to accomplish that look.

There was so much to take in and so many things the designers did to create this impressive space.  The elements of height, balance, color and scale all played so well together.  What "take away" will you use in creating a room in your own home?  What did you like best about this living room?  While the room itself may not be your style, how would you translate some of what you see to into your own interior?

As always I invite you to share your experiences and inspirations in the comment section of this post.  There was so much to appreciate in this showcase house.  Stay tuned and....

                                Happy Decorating!

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